Dear Mom …

Dear Mom,

Today, on this very special Mother’s Day, I just want to you know from the bottom of my heart that I am really curious about what you plan to do with all your stuff when you die.


Your Adoring Child

Worst Mother’s Day Card Ever?

Honestly! Who would ever say something like this?

Well, if you’re any kind of a decent and responsible child, your answer should be “ME!”


OK, granted your Mother’s Day card may not be the best approach, but this seemingly abrasive question is NOT without merit.

Bottom line? Moms have stuff. They have collectible stuff, practical stuff, heirloom stuff, monetary stuff, and now in this modern world, they have digital stuff. Really, just all sorts of stuff!

Somebody’s Gotta Ask the Question.

Estate planning is not just about who gets what stuff. Yes, a passing parent spends a lifetime accruing stuff and tragically few of them ever tell anybody what they want to happen to all their stuff once they’re gone. But estate planning also brings control, order, and dignity to what is always a turbulent time for a family.

And moms don’t just have stuff, they have ideas. Oh … do moms ever have ideas. You’d better find out mom’s health care preferences now so you’re not left guessing if she’s unable to tell them to you. You can also bet she knows exactly the kind of funeral she wants and would prefer you recite a very special reading. You’d darn well better find out what that reading is.

Life moves too quickly to wait on this.

The truth is, most of us don’t know exactly how many Mother’s Days mom has left. So although you may not want to slip this type of question into your card, you should find time to sit down for a chat sometime soon.

PRACTICAL NOTE: Many of our parents hail from a time when dad handled all financial and business transactions for the household, and still does. You’d better loop him in as well and make sure things are manageable no matter who departs this mortal coil first.

There is a Season for Everything

So I guess you’re right … Mother’s Day may not be the best day to bring it up. In fact, because I don’t want anybody blaming me for ruining their Mother’s Day brunch, let me suggest that you pick just about any day other than Mother’s Day to ask this question.

But you do need to ask it. Find out whether Mom is prepared. Your mom had a lot uglier conversations with you growing up. She can surely handle a blunt but extraordinarily important conversation from one of the people who loves her the most in this world.

So start the conversation.

If you need help, there are experts all around ready to help you. And online tools like Estate Map can make the conversation way easier and will make sure you gather all the info you could ever need. In fact, use the promo code MOMSDAY before may 17th and you’ll get 40% off your first year of Estate Map! Go to to register.

And anytime we’re talking moms, it should go without saying. Call her more often for Pete’s sake.


Joe Henderson is founder of Estate Map, which happens to be a cool tool to start estate conversations with loved ones (yes, like your mom, duh). He is an experienced estate attorney and is honored among his peers as a Super Lawyer; rated “AV-preeminent” with Martindale-Hubbell; and rated “superb” with AVVO. Joe lost his mom on May 23, 2011 and still wishes he could celebrate another Mother’s Day with her.

The photo above features Joe’s awesome cousins Cian and Maura who are actually aunt and nephew. But the photo looked enough like a cheeky son with his mom that Joe couldn’t help himself but use it. Photo credit to another awesome cousin, Colm. G’man Badge.

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